In our never ending quest to keep our readers engaged, we trawl the internet looking for the most interesting, thought provoking topics to write about. We watch Godawful cable news in order to translate the endless stream of nonsense into intelligible information you can use, and we constantly engage with readers to make sure we are at the fore front of current events. Some of the stuff we write about is complicated, emotionally draining, and intellectually exhausting. We try to make sense of the world and we like to think for the most part, we do a pretty good job.
Then, there are stories like this:
A 40-year-old mother is set to marry her own son. The woman and her son claim to be in love with each other. And now they want to take their relationship to the next level and get married considering that the mother, Betty Mbereko (from Mwenezi in Masvingo) is now six months pregnant and expecting her son’s child and her grand child.
Mbereko, 40, has been a widow for the past 12 years and has been living with her 23-years-old son Farai Mbereko.
She confirms that she is six month pregnant and that she has decided it is better to “marry” her son because she does not want to marry her late husband’s young brothers, whom she says are coveting her.
Betty stunned a village court last week when she said the affair with her son had begun three years earlier. She said after spending a lot of money sending Farai to school following the death of her husband, she felt she had a right to his money and no other woman was entitled to it.
The story hasn’t been corroborated by any major news outlet (the piece above comes from a site called ‘JadeAfrican.com’), but nevertheless, it deserves some attention for its sheer insanity. The story continues with the mother and son’s take on their incestuous relationship:
“Look, I strove alone to send my son to school and no one helped me. Now you see that my son is working and you accuse me of doing something wrong.
“Let me enjoy the products of my sweat,” she told the village court council.
Farai said he was more than prepared to marry his mother and would pay off the ilobola balance his father had left unpaid to his grandparents.
“I know my father died before he finished paying the bride price and I am prepared to pay it off,” he said. “It is better to publicise what is happening because people should know that I am the one who made my mother pregnant. Otherwise they will accuse her of promiscuity.” But local headman Nathan Muputirwa says: “We cannot allow this to happen in our village, mashura chaiwo aya, (This is a bad omen indeed). In the past they would have to be killed but today we cannot do it because we are afraid of the police.” He warned them to immediately break off their marriage or leave his village. They chose the latter and have since left the village for an undisclosed destination.
The public relations industry in Zimbabwe probably isn’t very advanced given the economy constantly teeters on the edge of complete collapse, but surely someone with a little worldly knowledge could have given Mr Mbereko a little press advice. There are many scandals that can be given a positive spin, but sleeping with your mother and marrying her is certainly not one of them.
It would be impossible to make sense of this story, because the truth is, it doesn’t make any sense. It is, for lack of a better phrase, really, really, really fucked up.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.